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Auto blogTue, 18 Mar 2014 17:14:00 EST
We often mock Toyota for building boring, soulless cars, but a new study by Consumer Reports suggests that regardless of whether that's true, the company has some of the best used cars on the market. In its report on used cars from 2004-2013, the Japanese automaker had 11 vehicles among its brands on the list - more than any other automaker.
CR breaks the list down by cost and vehicle size, and Toyota has at least one entry at every price point and in nearly every segment. To score a recommendation, a vehicle had to perform well in the magazine's initial tests and score above-average reliability results. It also tried to only suggest cars with electronic stability control. Of the 28 recommended vehicles, Honda/Acura had the second most mentions at six, and Ford, Hyundai and Subaru managed two each.
The Detroit brands also made it to the list, but not in a positive way. Consumer Reports compiled a list of 22 vehicles it wouldn't recommend because "they have multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability." General Motors had the most unrecommended models on the list at six, but Chrysler and Ford weren't far behind, with five cars each from their brands not making the grade. The full list of recommendations is available on CR's website.
Gymkhana king Ken Block has had a pretty simple car history in his trademark videos, starting out with Subaru Impreza rally cars before moving into Ford Focus racers for the past four installments. His next video, though, Gymkhana Seven, kind of goes back in time.
Rather than the cutting-edge rally racers of past videos, Block will pilot a heavily modified 1965 Ford Mustang, called the Hoonicorn. How heavily modified is it? Well, Block's Hooligan Racing Division, ASD Motorsports and Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s RTR, spent two years working on it, ditching the standard engine and rear-wheel-drive layout and replacing it with a 410-cubic-inch Roush Yates V8. Yes, that's a NASCAR engine, and it produces 845 horsepower.
A NASCAR-powered Mustang would be news in itself, but it's the other powertrain changes made by Block and Co. that really makes headlines. Power is channeled through a one-off Sadev transmission and all-wheel-drive system, meaning that Block has basically married a NASCAR stock car with a WRC racer. ASD also developed the customized suspension, tubular chassis and roll cage. The wide Mustang body is the work of RTR and Block's own Hoonigan Racing Division, while the 18-inch fifteen52 wheels are shod in Pirelli Trofeo R tires that use a specialized compound exclusive to Block.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's investigation into 2008 Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickups, which was originally opened last year, has now ended without a recall. NHTSA was looking into steering failures on some 336,000 trucks.
The issue rested with the steering gear - NHTSA received five complaints of failures - which was redesigned in 2005. According to the report on the matter, investigators "found evidence of broken sector shaft gear teeth and piston damage consistent with incidents of single event overload."
NHTSA investigators, however, "found no evidence of fatigue or material property defects in any of the fractures. Analysis of complaint rates by vehicle build month showed no patterns indicating potential manufacturing quality issues and no difference before and after Ford introduced design changes to the input shaft and sector shaft seals in July 2007 to address potential leak concerns," according to the report, obtained by The Detroit News.